This is the true Cryatalis.
I first played this game back in the mid 1990's and was instantly hooked. the story is nothing spectacular, but even so the NES version is still much more gripping than the horrible Game Boy Color remake. The gameplay is simple. You travel the world, fighting enemies, gaining experience and collecting items and of course talking to various people to advance the plot. Many people criticize the game for the necessity of switching swords to combat different enemies who might not be weak to the first sword you get. I tell these people that this is called strategy, which the Game Boy Color version lacks. They removed entirely the elemental weaknesses from the enemies in that remake, meaning that there's virtually no strategic planning in that incarnation beyond making sure you keep your HP up. It's not as though it takes more than a second just to switch out your old sword for a new one to deal with the new enemies.
Another aspect of the NES version which was regrettably ruined in the GBC remake was the audio. The sound effects in the NES version, though nothing spectacular, are still fitting and sound like what they're supposed to, particularly when you strike an enemy with your sword. True the ping when you strike an enemy that isn't vulnerable to your current sword can get a little annoying but not too much. But where the game really shines in the audio department is the music. True some of the cave themes can get a bit annoying but other themes, like the overworld or dolphin themes, will get pleasantly stuck in your head for hours if not days at a stretch.
The story of the game, even if not groundbreaking, was still well-written. It actually discusses the concept of good and evil somewhat, which for the NES days was profoundly philosophical. All that was removed in the GBC remake. The story was just the standard evil wizard wants to rule earth. Kill him. The NES version actually explored the idea that even a good person could potentially fall to evil. In short, if you're going for Crystalis go for the NES version. That, as far as I'm concerned, was the truest version of the game.
Reviewed by: Bryan Peterson from Twin Falls on 10/19/2011